I'm a third (& final) year nursing student. In Australia it's the beginning of the academic year so we've just started third year. In my degree so far we've had no exposure to a clinical paediatric setting. We did an introduction to children's health subject and a one week placement in a special school for kids with disabilities in second year and for most students that's all the paediatric exposure they'll get. In third year we can choose one elective in first semester that includes two weeks of placement and a sub-major in second semester that includes five weeks of placement. I'll be doing the paediatric sub-major next semester, which starts in August so I won't have any formal instruction in paeds until then.
Paeds has been my dream from Day Dot. Nursing adults has been really difficult at some points during my degree for so many reasons, largely because I just know that it's not what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. More recently I've started to feel more comfortable and confident with it, it's not where my heart lies. I can't wait for second semester and for all my work to be paeds focused.
Over the last two years I've been working as a nursing assistant in a very small hospital for kids with disabilities. It's largely personal care for very, very disabled kids who visit us on a regular basis for respite because they have very high care requirements. I've also been volunteering in a special school for kids with disabilities, which I adore. Obviously it's not clinical at all but I've loved it all the same.
However I have been given an incredible opportunity. The major kids hospital here (one of the biggest and most prestigious in the country) runs a program for third and final year undergraduate nursing students. They hire 20-odd students as undergraduate nursing assistants each year to their casual pool, train them up and then leave them to pick up shifts anywhere in the hospital on a casual basis. It's my dream job. I've been dying for the opportunity to apply since first year. Obviously when applications opened I applied. & I got the job. So did 19 other girls from my year at uni and two students from another uni. As you can imagine it's incredibly competitive. On Thursday I'll be commencing supernumerary ward training on my 'home ward'. I visited the ward today to meet the CNE and the NUM and get the grand tour and I'm suddenly overcome with the fact that I have absolutely no experience in real paediatric nursing and have no idea how to do this job! There are so many differences - big, obvious things as well as small, subtle things - between nursing kids and nursing adults and I'm totally overwhelmed. I'm scared I won't be able to do this job at all.
What advice is there for someone in my position? I imagine there's only so much a textbook can teach you about this job. This is where I want to be and I want to excel at my job - but I don't know how to or even if I'm capable!